There has been much destruction and devastation at the hands of ISIS fighters. Lives have been lost and worlds upturned. There has also been destruction brought down on history. Horrific destruction of the Mosul Museum in northern Iraq by ISIS fighters was broadcast in a video, and this wasn’t the first time for this museum. The destruction is nearly absolute.

Project Mosul is a volunteer action by the fellows of the Initial Training Network for Digital Cultural Heritage, a Marie Curie Actions training project that is part of the Seventh Framework Programme. This project is looking to respond through the application of digital technologies to cultural heritage.

Much of the museum’s contents were likely looted and anything small enough to be easily removed will be appearing soon on the antiquities market. Anything too large to remove for sale appears to have met a violent end at the hand of ISIS extremists. However, it is possible to virtually recreate the lost items through the application of photogrammetry and crowdsourcing. This provides two immediate benefits: helping to identify looted items and recreating destroyed items.

This project is a direct response to the senseless destruction of cultural heritage by extremists, not only ISIS, but to any group who uses heritage as leverage or political power. They want to bring heritage back to life through digital tools, giving the public access to any destroyed heritage, starting with the Mosul Museum.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.